What is Endocrine System?

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“Are you feeling hormonal?” or  “It’s just the hormones!” Hormones are something we all complain about without fully understanding where they originate from or what they do. Hormones are essential for survival because they offer a relay system that allows each cell to convey information and instructions throughout the body.  Is the Endocrine System the origin of these amazing messengers? In this blog, let’s find out what Endocrine System is and its properties.

Source: Hormone.org

What is Endocrine System?

The endocrine system is a group of glands in your body that produce hormones that allow cells to communicate with one another. Almost every cell, organ, and function in your body is controlled by them.

You could have trouble developing through puberty, becoming pregnant, or handling stress if your endocrine system isn’t in good shape. Because too much sugar remains in your blood instead of going into your cells where it’s required for energy, you may gain weight quickly, have weak bones, or lack energy.

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What is a Gland?

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A gland is an organ that generates and secretes hormones that perform particular functions in the body. The chemicals produced by your endocrine and exocrine glands are released into your bloodstream.

Functions of the Endocrine System

The quantity of hormones in your blood is constantly monitored by your endocrine system. Hormones communicate by locking into the cells they want to reach and delivering the message.

When your hormone levels rise, the pituitary gland detects this and signals other glands to stop making and releasing hormones. When hormone levels fall below a particular threshold, the pituitary gland can tell the rest of the body to make and release more. This mechanism, known as homeostasis, operates similarly to your home’s thermostat. Hormones have an impact on virtually every bodily function, including:

  • Metabolism.
  • Growth and development.
  • Emotions and mood.
  • Fertility and sexual function.
  • Sleep.
  • Blood pressure.

Hormones are sometimes produced in excess or insufficiently by glands. Weight gain, high blood pressure, and changes in sleep, temper, and behaviour can all be symptoms of this imbalance. The way your body produces and releases hormones can be influenced by a variety of factors. A hormone imbalance can be caused by illness, stress, or certain medicines.

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Parts of the Endocrine System

The endocrine system is made up of glands, which are organs that produce hormones. Glands generate and release a variety of hormones that target different parts of the body. Your body is covered in glands, including those in your neck, brain, and reproductive organs. Some glands are quite small, measuring approximately the size of a grain of rice or a pea. The pancreas, which is roughly 6 inches long, is the biggest gland.

Source: Epa.gov

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How are Hormones Produced?

Hormones are produced by the following glands:

Hypothalamus: The hypothalamus is a gland in the brain that regulates your endocrine system. It determines when to instruct other glands, like the pituitary gland, to release hormones using input from your neurological system. The hypothalamus is in charge of a variety of bodily functions, including mood, appetite and thirst, sleep patterns, and sexual function.

Pituitary: This tiny gland is approximately the size of a pea, yet it performs a critical function. It produces hormones that regulate the thyroid, adrenal glands, ovaries, and testicles, among other glands. The pituitary gland is in charge of a variety of activities, including the growth of your body. It can be found near the base of your skull.

Thyroid: The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck. It is in charge of your metabolism (how your body uses energy).

Parathyroid: These four small glands are about the size of a grain of rice. They regulate the calcium levels in your body. Calcium is required for the proper functioning of your heart, kidneys, bones, and neurological system.

Adrenal glands: Each kidney has two adrenal glands, one on top of the other. Your metabolism, blood pressure, sexual development, and stress response are all controlled by them.

Pineal: This gland regulates your sleep cycle by secreting melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.

Pancreas: Your pancreas is a gland that is part of your endocrine system and also plays the function of indigestion. It produces the hormone insulin, which regulates the amount of sugar in your blood.

Ovaries: The ovaries in women produce the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. In the lower abdomen, women have two ovaries, one on each side.

Testes: The testes (testicles) in males produce sperm and release the hormone testosterone. Sperm production, muscular strength, and sexual desire are all affected by this hormone.

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Endocrine Disorders

The endocrine system can be affected by a variety of diseases. These disorders can lead to a variety of health issues throughout the body. The following are some of the most common disorders:

Diabetes: The way your body utilizes the energy from the food you consume is affected by this endocrine disease. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when insulin does not function properly.

Thyroid Diseases: The thyroid gland’s function can be influenced by a variety of factors. When the thyroid does not generate enough hormones, hypothyroidism develops. When the thyroid gland produces too many hormones, hyperthyroidism develops.

Hypogonadism (low testosterone): Erectile dysfunction can be caused by hypogonadism in males. It can also lead to issues with memory and attention, as well as changes in muscle strength and a lack of sexual desire. It occurs when the testes do not generate enough testosterone, the sex hormone.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS causes irregular periods, excessive hair growth, increased acne, and weight gain due to a hormonal imbalance. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and infertility are all possible outcomes.

Osteoporosis: Bones grow brittle and weak when a woman’s ovaries don’t generate enough estrogen. Men can get osteoporosis when their testosterone levels go too low, however, it is more prevalent in women. Hyperparathyroidism (an overactive parathyroid gland) can cause bone weakness.

What is the Frequency of These Conditions?

  • Diabetes is a disease that affects a large number of people. In India, almost 11.8% of the population has diabetes.
  • Thyroid illness affects about 32% of the total Indian population. Women are roughly five times as likely to get the disease than males.
  • Hypogonadism affects around 40% of males over the age of 45. As men become older, their levels of this sex hormone gradually decrease. Other factors that impact testosterone levels include a man’s diet, weight, and other health issues.
  • PCOS is a prevalent disease that affects around 3.7% to 22.5% of adult women in India. It is one of the most common causes of infertility.

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How to Maintain the Endocrine System? 

To be healthy, the endocrine system needs the same nutrients as the rest of your body. You should exercise, eat well, and see your doctor on a regular basis.

Consult your doctor if you have a family history of diabetes, thyroid problems, or PCOS. Taking care of these issues can help you prevent developing a hormone imbalance, which can lead to health issues.

How Chemicals Affect the Endocrine System?

Environmental contaminants can alter the endocrine system, resulting in negative health effects, according to scientific studies on human epidemiology, laboratory animals, and fish and wildlife. It is critical to acquire a better knowledge of what chemical concentrations in the environment might have a negative impact.

To address many of the scientific issues and uncertainties surrounding the endocrine disruptor issue, many sorts of scientific research (epidemiology, mammalian toxicology, and ecological toxicology) are required. Government organizations, industry, and academia are all doing research work right now.

This was all about the Endocrine System. Stay connected with Leverage Edu for more notes on educational content.

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